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464                 HISTORY OF PERSIA                 CHAP.
The final assault was entirely successful. The signal was
given by the explosion of a mine, which levelled a large
section of the wall, and the Russians, advancing in several
columns, quickly captured the fortress. The pursuit of
the fugitives, seen by O'Donovan from the neighbouring
hills, turned the flight of the Turkoman into a rout
Thus fell the last great stronghold of Central Asia. Many
years after this victory, as I wandered among the ruins of
the fort, while ready to pay due homage to the assailants'
valour, I marvelled at the desperate courage with which
this simple walled enclosure had been held for more than
twenty days against the Russian army. For the Tekke
Turkoman the blow was crushing and final. The Tekke
of Merv were persuaded to submit by Alikhanoff, a
Russian officer who by birth was a Moslem of Daghestan ;
and in 1884 Merv became a part of the Russian Empire.
The Sariks of Yulatan, the oasis to the south, followed
suit, as did other minor tribes also. This successful cam-
paign constituted the fourth and last stage of the Russian
advance.
The Effect on Persia.—The effect on Persia was two-
fold. That power has been unable to repress the constant
raiding of Khorasan by the Tekke, Yamut, and Goklan,1
and consequently the action of Russia was an inestimable
benefit to the harassed peasantry. Against this must be
set the hemming-in of Persia to the north and the loss
of her prestige through the Russian annexation of Merv.
The new frontier, too, which ran up the River Atrek as
far as Chat and thence up the Sambar, was drawn most
unfavourably for Persia in its eastern section. All the
fertile atck> or skirt, of the range was annexed by the
Russians, and the Persian villagers of the uplands were
not permitted to increase the extent of their irrigated land
by a square yard or to* plant a new tree. To-day Russian
officials cross the Persian frontier at will and punish any
contravention of the treaty by the destruction of crops
and in other ways.
The Capture of Herat by Dost Mohamed, 1863.—We
1 Unfortunately, of recent years the Turkoman who inhabit the Gurgan Valley have
recommenced their murderous raids.